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Analysis of Lee(TM)s Persimmons

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Analysis of Lee's "Persimmons" Li-Young Lee's "Persimmons" shares the author's perspective on his Chinese culture after having moved to America. My initial reading revealed his disassociated feelings towards his customs and language, but a contextualized analysis of the piece showed satisfaction because of the complexity woven into the piece. By using typography, repetition, and symbolism he develops his memories into a reflection while staying relevant by including current experiences. I took my first reading of the poem as simply an expanded memory. It begins in sixth grade and progresses to his father's becoming blind. I made the assumption from the title that persimmons would be a significant element and they were. Lee had pleasant memories of his mother's crafts and his father's art. ...read more.


is left unchanged. He also leaves space between the English and the Chinese which symbolizes his pause recalling the meaning. He repeats phrasing in the poem which adds to the nostalgic tone and shows his repeated thoughts with the passing of time. After he was punished for not knowing the difference between "persimmon" and "precision" he says, "[h]ow to choose/persimmons. This is precision" (6-7). He references this again when the teacher ironically brings in an unripe persimmon as it's been presented imprecisely. This relates to the significance of persimmons mentioned in the fifth part "[m]y mother said every persimmon has a sun/inside.../warm as my face" (46-48), and builds his symbolic meaning for the fruit. ...read more.


This resolution conveys the transformation of the poem's tone. Lee began the poem telling of an unpleasant memory, develops this into his current frustration, but shows his happiness with his new culture by giving the examples of what "wren" and "yarn" mean and his father's reassurance that he won't lose what's truly meaningful. The poem ends with the weight of the ripe fruit showing that despite the teacher's insensitivity to his cultural background he's still knowledgeable in a personally significant way. The author seemed to purposefully write the poem so that the piece had a "face value story" but also a much deeper message beneath. He seemed to show his resolution with his new life, despite some lost memories. By incorporating good memories and resolving the piece he conveys his current situation favorably. Though he moved to America and had difficulty with both Chinese and English, he's contented. ...read more.

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